If you’re a fan of the novel, kitsch and quirky, you’re going to love Terminal 21.
The shopping mall adjoined to Asok BTS station and Sukhumvit MRT is designed to resemble an airport terminal.
Or multiple airport terminals, rather – each level is decorated in the style of a particular city, country or world region.
We’ve got the Caribbean in the basement, Rome on the ground, Paris on the mezzanine, then Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco and finally Hollywood; predictably home to the cineplex.
It’s all departure boards, escalators and clocks showing different time zones while moulded statues, tacked-on street signs and stylish lighting invoke the character of the location each level represents.
The verdict? Fun, kooky, and an Instagrammer’s wet dream.
As far as shopping at Terminal 21 goes, it’s a mixed bag.
Each floor has it’s own specialty – you’ve got your luxury brands in Rome, classic western high-street shops in Paris – H&M, Esprit and Victoria’s Secret, for instance – while Tokyo, London and Istanbul are characterised by labyrinthine ‘streets’ of market-style shops promising cheap prices for unique goods.
Some of these tiny shop houses are a veritable treasure trove while others are, frankly, more suited to the darkest corners of MBK.
Cheap, tacky jewellery anyone?
If you’re after bold and unique fashion, head to the Tokyo floor where hordes of tiny boutiques await you. Beware though – most of them have no changing rooms and a ‘no returns’ policy in place so you’ll have to take a leap of faith when it comes to purchasing. We told you it was market style!
The souq-style Istanbul level is great for shoes and beauty buys while menswear is the name of the game in London on the second floor.
If you’re not Instagramming or shopping at Terminal 21, you’re probably going to be eating.
There’s the amazingly cheap and extensive food court Pier 21 on the San Francisco Pier level – arguably the best and most popular food court of Bangkok’s many malls – and a horde of international restaurant chains on the San Francisco City level, like Sunrise Tacos and Fuji.
Tim Ho Wan – the recently voted #1 restaurant in Asia – enjoys a prime position at the front of the Mall on the third floor. It’s the world’s cheapest michelin-starred restaurant and serves up delectably fresh dim sum to it’s many punters every day. There’s no reservations system in place so be prepared to queue if you’re looking for an evening or weekend meal.
Small coffee outlets like Starbucks are scattered through the mall while you’ll find Mister Donut, Subway and Dairy Queen in the Caribbean basement next to a small Gourmet Market.
We love Terminal 21.
It offers something a little different by way of design and shopping experience – as well as being able to browse your usual favourite fashion brands, it offers the thrill of possibility: finding an utterly unique bargain in the market streets.
We say avoid the crowds of Thai teenagers and pop in on a weekday afternoon for some serious bargain-hunting and some serious eating at the food court.
Have you been to Terminal 21? Which do you think is the best floor for scoring a bargain?